January 28, 2019
Making Healthy Decisions in 2019 (part 2)

Yes, it is still January, even with part 2.

When we think through making healthy decisions, we repeat, that creating new habits rather than thinking of certain things as off limits can make all the difference in making new behaviors stick.

Reducing “clutter” – of all types

The wave of the declutter movement, sparked by Marie Kondo and the KonMari method has taken on a life of its own.

Certainly, material clutter weighs us down by simply having too much to manage. Simplicity is beautiful. Less is more. Valuing what we have rather than pursuing “more” can be liberating.

What about other “clutter” in your world? Limiting this piece to emotional clutter – clearing out the limiting beliefs and revising them. As The Greatest, Muhammad Ali stated;  “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion.” Now that’s a liberating truth!

In Michael Hyatt’s Your Best Year Ever, to declutter your mind takes reframing of your beliefs through a 6-step guide from Recognizing the beliefs, Rejecting limiting beliefs and Reorienting to the new belief that removes the limitation.

Get Moving – in all ways

It may be the natural order to hibernate at this time of year, but we can all get moving, taking action to make this year better than the last.

  • Physical Activity – yes, the obvious one. Decluttering, forest bathing, doing household chores, shoveling snow (carefully). These simple things to move every day does not have to take on the shape of a gym membership that will go unused after March 31st
  • Mental Activity – just for fun, not always related to career or work. Puzzles (electronic, too), taking up that new hobby, taking hand-written notes with the opposite hand can all create new neural pathways, increasing creativity and mental agility
  • Heart Activity – thought this was already covered above, yes? This is related to emotional and spiritual health. Setting aside time every day to meditate, journal, pray, capture what is important to you. Then let go of the emotion without letting go of the lesson. Challenging and very valuable

Rest, rest, rest

You can find scores of articles supporting all the benefits of adequate sleep. Once you get moving in the ways mentioned above and create new habits, you’ll likely experience improved sleep, productivity and concentration. This virtuous cycle will enable you to stay on track.

Ok, how do I create a good habit?

We’ve taken just a small piece from James Clear – best seller “Atomic Habits”. You’ll want to read more about eliminating bad habits as the other side of this mix.

There are 4 Laws that Clear sites based on our neural programming.

Using the specific stated goal of “Getting into shape by losing 20 pounds by March 31st and not short of breath at the top of the stairs and feeling more energetic.”

The 1st Law is activating “The Cue” – make it obvious. Set your athletic shoes in a very visible spot, perhaps along with your wrist weights and music headset to make it easy to take action.

The 2nd Law is creating “The Craving” – make it attractive. A bright pair of shoes, workout shirt in your favorite color or featuring your favorite band, saying, artist, verse, etc.

The 3rd Law is “The Response” – make it easy. As simple as a walk around the block or setting a time goal of 20 minutes of new daily activity for the first couple of weeks.  Increase the amount of movement by 10 minutes each 2-week period for a maximum of 60 minutes.

The 4th Law is “The Reward” – make it satisfying. The reward would be in keeping with the goal – measure how you feel, not being short of breath at the top of the stairs. Can you buy a new piece of clothing as a reward for the new physique? Get creative in how you reward yourself and make it consistent with rewarding the new behavior.

Changing your habits and outlook is a marathon, not a sprint. Celebrate the incremental wins. Share those wins with friends and loved ones. Understand and forgive minor and occasional shortfalls. Life still gives us the unpredictable, the hurdle, the pothole, the detour. A rainbow forms from the convergence of rain and sunlight.

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